Collaboration Skills are critical to coaching success. Developing these skills takes time. Learning to be a good listener who can ask good clarifying questions assists the teacher in seeing a more clear picture of their teaching and how it compares to criteria for effective lessons. This baseline picture is where coaches begin to ask probing questions that benefit the teacher. Learning to ask good probing questions is challenging.

Tips and Tools for Coaching

There are several ways that can focus your coaching conversations and improve your collaboration/communication skills. After you choose the tool that you will use to guide your coaching sessions and your collaboration log format place a few important notes or tools in your coaching binder. These tools should help you make the best use of your time and easily take notes on your sessions. Remember that pausing is an effective skill. It gives you both time to think and it validates what the teacher is saying and creates the feeling that the work is important. It gives the coach time to assess the conversation and determine what areas to pursue and develop good probing questions.
  • Place a "P" on the binder/folder/recording tool in a place where you will see it during coaching to remind yourself of the value of pausing
  • Have a copy of last session notes printed or available for you and your collaborating teacher to view to review and start your conversation with "When we left our last session -------". This will help you get started with coaching quickly and saves time.
  • Reminder emails the day before or morning of a coaching session keep you both aware of the session and thinking about it in advance of meeting.
  • After your coaching session take a minute or two to reflect on your coaching skills and the session. Identify things you did well and areas you would like to improve. Identify an area where a probing question might have been valuable to the teacher's thinking on their lesson. Focus on the relationship between what the teacher intended and what was inacted and the assessment of the resulting student performance. This alignment is critical for effective lessons.

Collaboration Tools:

Guide to Probing Questions: